Buy a Shirt, Give a Shirt

2:47 PM, Jan 2, 2012   |    comments
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BUFFALO, N.Y. - About two years ago, Dan Gigante came up with a plan he just couldn't let go. He wanted to sell T-shirts, but for each one he sold, he would donate another to a person in need.

"I just couldn't stop thinking about it once I had the idea," said Gigante. It was, indeed, a concept too delightful to drop. So, about a year ago, Dan quit his job and started "You and Who".

It's a web-based company and the t-shirts are designed by local artists.

"Everyone I've talked to about doing it, loves it," said Gigante. The artists love being involved, the organizations love receiving brand new shirts and people that buy them love that not only do they get one for themselves, that they're helping someone else."

That enthusiasm was clear on Friday, when Dan dropped off his latest batch of donations to Compass House, a shelter that takes in adolescents at risk of being homeless.

"Some of the kids that come here show up with only the clothes on their back, absolutely nothing else," said Diane Miller, an administrative assistant at Compass House. "When the kids get the shirts they're really excited, they look at the design and they can pick one of two designs that they have here, and they pick the one they like, and they put it on, they're excited."

When Gigante launched "You and Who" it was in seven cities besides Buffalo. Today, he's expanding to 32 cities nationwide. He's chronicled his efforts online as a weekly columnist for The Good Neighborhood, a blog devoted to Buffalo.

"You and Who" sold about 1,000 shirts last year, meaning there's double that number on the street. Gigante says his goal for 2012 is simply to spread the word.

"As more people find out about it, they like what we're doing, and that's how we see more shirts being bought," said Gigante.

Each shirt is $25. For more information, visit You and Who's website.

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